At the Ottawa Independent Writers 2015 Poetry competition my “Ancient Tree in Winter” won first prize. This poem was inspired one recent winter by a river walk at Carleton University. An oak tree had been swept over Hogs Back Falls and ended up stuck at the stretch of the Rideau River rapids at Carleton University. Throughout the winter on my daily walks from the bus stop to my office – I would stop and observe this beautiful tree trapped in the rapids. Until one day it was gone, The spring floods released it for the next phase of its journey.
Ancient Tree in Winter
Ancient Tree in Winter,
where did you come from?
cleft by rocks at river’s edge.
Water eddies carve your shape.
Ice mires your branches,
snow creeps fingers across the river
as your body disappears under deep laden snow.
Decaying sculpture of existence.
Death and birth are there.
Yet your journey carries you through,
While ducks stand on your broken limbs
Preening their feathers.
Did you once stand tall and majestic
in a soft Rideau River valley?
host to birds, small animals,
insects and whispering breeze?
Were you alone on a high bluff
shading thundering rapids
that pulled you to their embrace?
What felled you,
so that you now lie here
Cleft by rocks.
Exquisite beauty of my winter river walk.
Waiting for spring’s flood
To set you free.